As the Blaine County School Board faces critics and ponders whether to open what administrators say will be a cost-neutral daycare center for the children of teenage mothers, it should ask, "What if teenage boys got pregnant?"
Would the critics be so quick to tell boys that because they made the adult decision to have sex and bear a child, they must shoulder the full burden of that decision on their own?
Would they tell boys to accept de facto banishment from public schools and the punishment of being able only to access higher education through GED programs?
Would they tell boys that the Herculean task of trying to balance a baby and books is theirs and theirs alone?
Would they tell boys to accept the fact that their chance to work in a good job and make a living wage simply have evaporated with little chance of retrieval? Would they tell them to meekly accept a life sentence to unremitting poverty and going nowhere?
Would they write off the baby as undeserving of an investment in a parent that could secure the infant's future?
We think not, but yet these are the quiet but stern messages still commonly received by pregnant teenage girls in this enlightened 21st century, even though they are not whisked away from the very sight of their classmates like they were in the preceding one.
The school board seems excited by channeling state money already available for caring for children of teen mothers into a program to be located near Wood River High School that would put moms and babies within close proximity during the baby's critical early months. The program would serve an estimated seven to 10 teenage moms and babies.
Being a teenage mother is not a crime. It shouldn't be treated like one.